Sunday, January 6, 2008

Am I content or am I in a slump? Teaching rapier in the SCA

I got involved in fencing in the SCA completely by accident. I was running a Star Wars role-playing game at a friend's house on Sundays, and he had fencing practice on Sundays, as well. I went to his house early, and we all went to practice. I went just to kill some time and hang out.

One of the fencers there talked to me a little, and eventually dropped a sword into my hand. I expected some kind of French-grip epee, or a pistol-grip foil (I'd seen them in catalogs, and they totally destroyed any desire I had to pick up a fencing sword). Instead, it was a swept-hilted rapier (with a schlager blade, which I'd never seen before). He showed me how to stand, how to advance with it and retreat. It just felt right.

I was hooked.

I've fallen in and out of love with SCA fencing a hundred times. My enthusiasm right now is waning, partially because of medical issues and work stresses. My students really are the reason I make it to practice. My enthusiasm and passion will pick up again, I'm sure, once I spend more time on the lists, once I make it to a few more events.

So, most of my work nowadays is interpreting historical swordfighting manuals. When I teach rapier in the SCA, some of the principals I use come straight from the manuals. I focus on the practical application of those principals...they're a foundation to build from. I've found that to be a pretty strong and effective technique.

So right now, most of my attention is focused on teaching. Once I get some more energy, and feel better, I'll make it to more tournaments to compete. Right now, though, I'm content to teach. When I need to wake up out of my complacency, I just remember the first time I had a sword dropped into my hand, and how it felt just right.

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